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General Debate: United Nations Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons leading to their total elimination.

Intervention by the Permanent Representative of the Argentine Republic, Ambassador Martín García Moritán

March 27


Allow me first to sincerely congratulate you on your election as Chair of this important Conference. We are convinced that your commitment, leadership and experience will guide the work of this Conference, and I assure you and the Bureau of the Conference of the support and cooperation of the Argentine Delegation.

The Delegation of Argentina subscribed to the intervention made by the distinguished Representative of El Salvador, on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Therefore, I will only emphasize some points of special relevance for my country.

The global scenario of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation presents challenges that require the international community to work constructively and to seek the broadest consensus in view of the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Argentina maintains a vigorous nuclear program for exclusively peaceful purposes, within the framework of the strictest respect for the norms enshrined in international treaties. As a result, my country gives priority to the issue of nuclear disarmament and has made significant efforts in this area, reflecting a clear and sustained commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

In this regard, in the area of nuclear disarmament, while recognizing that there have been unilateral and bilateral measures to advance the destruction of stockpiles, we expect strong commitment from the possessing countries to rapidly implement their nuclear disarmament obligations under Article VI of the NPT. We regret that, in the present circumstances, the lack of a clear and unequivocal commitment in nuclear disarmament introduces an element of uncertainty in the delicate balance of obligations of the NPT.

This worrying reality, however, should not negate diplomatic efforts in favor of disarmament. Argentina regrets that this Negotiating Conference takes place in the absence of the nuclear weapons States, making it a negotiating exercise for the "disarmament of the unarmed", as expressed long ago an Argentine Permanent Representative to the General Assembly. We must go beyond the sterile reiteration of the prohibition among non-possessors and move towards the elimination of existing arsenals.

This will only be possible if we join forces to generate fruitful dialogue and negotiation among the five nuclear weapons States and non-possessors parties to the NPT. The next NPT review cycle will be the enabling environment to promote joint work and a unique opportunity to overcome divisions in the international community. Only the participation and commitment of all will make it possible to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons, the only guarantee against the threat or use of them.

Allow me, Madam Chair, to dwell on the relationship between the NPT and this negotiating exercise.

For Argentina, the current disarmament and non-proliferation regime, consolidated through the NPT, which is its cornerstone, as recognized in the Resolution that gave mandate to this Conference, requires our greater commitment not only to maintain it, but also to strengthen it. That is why our approach to the negotiation of a new instrument will have as a point of reference such an objective.

In this sense, it is important to emphasize that we do not start from scratch in the task that leads us towards a world free of nuclear weapons through its prohibition and total elimination, according to the mandate of this Conference. For my country, Article VI of the NPT contains this end in itself, by making the objective of general and complete disarmament compulsory, as well as the possibility of prohibiting such weapons in the future. In this sense, we must not undermine the operability and obligatory nature of Article VI of the NPT, which has always had (and still does) to achieve this objective.

Madam Chair,

In particular, we believe that, on the one hand, the future instrument should contain all the elements provided for in the negotiating mandate: to include not only provisions to achieve the objective of the nuclear weapons ban but also provisions that allow progress towards their total elimination of Verifiable form.

In addition, the future instrument should reaffirm the NPT regime, especially Article VI, without undermining the achievements already made in the area of non-proliferation and avoid being an alternative to that. To this end, it will be necessary to consider the inclusion of specific measures that clarify the future relationship between the two instruments. By way of example, we consider it essential that the future Convention include an explicit recognition that the State party to the Prohibition Treaty can not be opposed in order to substantiate an eventual or existing withdrawal from the NPT.

Likewise, for Argentina, none of the future provisions of the Convention may subsume, replace, or be deemed equivalent to the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which rest on a proven and effective verification system, under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy.

Argentina participates in this negotiation process convinced that it is an initiative that will lead to a new international standard, as such, it must strengthen what has been achieved and not put it in doubt. It goes without saying that a future Treaty must be accompanied by pragmatic and effective actions agreed upon by Member States. To this end, the results of the NPT Review Conferences provide an essential framework for achieving nuclear disarmament and strengthening the overall system.

The future Treaty must be able to articulate itself in order to maintain this balance and a space of dialogue and understanding.

Madam Chair, be sure that you can count on the full support of the Argentine Delegation


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